I remember a week after Red Dead Redemption 2 came out, I posted a status saying "I can't tell if its a 6/10 or an 11/10." I definitely get why I thought that, and see why so many people disliked it. There are so many bizarre mechanics in the game that feel either inconvenient or just strange. The tediousness of crafting stuff, the confusing core system, the fast travel limitations – it all would seem to work against the game.
I took a break since then and recently got back into it. When I picked it up again, however, I was overwhelmed by how much I missed it. It felt like a blanket or a warm cup of tea on a cold day. Looking at the big picture, I am blown away by how much content is in this game. The voice acting, missions, collectibles…its just insane. So much so that it's transcended most games for me.
When I reflect on my "6/10 vs 11/10" point, I think I've figured it out. If you are perceiving Red Dead 2 as a standard video game, it's the former. There are so many bizarre elements that draw out gameplay heavily and make it feel clunky as all hell. However, if you allow yourself to be captivated by the game WORLD, like you would a TV series or a book, it quickly shifts to that 11/10 rating. You essentially become Arthur Morgan.
The crafting and travel systems feel tedious to you? Believe me, it's just as inconvenient for Arthur. Escaping the law frustrating? Arthur feels that too. In fact, the only liberty I feel the game takes in this regard is combat itself. It shakes realism for gameplay value when you are gunslinging. Not only does this make for better gameplay, but it also perfectly reflects what you might see in a classic Western movie. In fact, the only inconvenient thing in the game that I don't feel necessary is when you accidentally grab or punch somebody and everybody freaks out. But when that is your one issue, you know you have a gem on your hands.
So, I apologize for the long post. I just wanted to share how I felt about it. I've never felt so connected to a game in a long while. Most games I want to binge or speed through just because it's satisfying fun. This makes me want to draw out the playtime longer and longer – the game ceases to be a fiction and becomes a real world that you visit. The fact that, after 4 months, I can dive back into it and get immersed so easily is a testament to how incredible the game really is.
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